1. Could Pentecostalism be catering to the contemporary cultural quest for a spiritual experience by promoting extravagant divine encounters as the normative trajectory of Christianity? For example, are we simply giving them what they want when our slogans invite people to come for a worship experience?
2. Have we perhaps unintentionally restricted the work of the Holy Spirit by focusing almost exclusively on Spirit baptism as a personal and private experience to the neglect of the Spirit’s global and cosmic work?
3. Why do we continue to maintain loyalty to the fundamentalist and neo-fundamentalist emphasis on anti-intellectualism and the notion that ‘faith seeking understanding’ will inevitably lead to a dead faith? Why do we believe that the terms are fundamentally (no pun intended) at odds with one other?
4. Why have we so consistently embraced and elevated many Christian leaders to the status of celebrity, even after they promote ideas that are not reflected in the intent and overall witness of scripture?
5. Why is it that we have so often sustained a lone ranger or wonder woman spirituality that ignores the New Testament focus on community and mutuality, which in turn creates isolation and elitism?
6. Why have we so consistently viewed spiritual gifts as private possessions to be showcased, rather than grace gifts (charismata); expressions of the Spirit that point to and provide glimpses of the in-breaking of God’s kingdom and loving reign on earth?
7. Why have we been so recently enamored with power, victory, wealth, and status? Has this focus anything to do with our misunderstanding of Spirit baptism as a power-only encounter, coupled with an over-realized eschatology that expects the fullness of the kingdom now?
8. How can we claim to have a robust experience of the Spirit while at the same time lacking a more fully developed biblical and theological understanding of the Spirit? What controls our experience if our theology of the Spirit is weak and based more on popular ideas than the witness of scripture?
9. Why do we so consistently seek spiritual experiences that center on power encounters while downplaying the normal and everyday activities of life? Where do we spend the vast majority of our time? If we isolate God’s activity only to the extravagant, will we potentially miss countless opportunities to connect with God in the mundane?
10. Why do Pentecostals, who claim to have a unique experience of the Spirit, have just as many affairs, divorces, and other moral failures as do non-Pentecostals? Don’t you think Pentecostals owe us some explanation of why their unique experience of the Spirit makes no apparent difference to their characters? (This question came from my Facebook/Twitter request for questions others may have for Pentecostals. Thanks, Tom Belt).
What questions do you have? Comments, concerns, commendations?
This post has been included in my Pentecostal-Charismatic Series. For more related articles, please click here.